“Tom,” Sigmund Freud’s eccentric niece Martha illustrated children’s books

Under the pseudonym Tom Seidmann-Freud—often shortened to just “Tom”—Sigmund Freud’s eccentric niece Martha illustrated a series of wonderful children’s books in the early twentieth century. She killed herself in 1930 (age 37 or 38), a year after her husband killed himself. This grim ending is not reflected in her dream-like, often whimsical work. (12/30 update: “whimsically apocalyptic” might be more accurate for the rabbit book.)

Her life was brief, its ending tragic. And after her death, the Nazis attempted to destroy the art she had created. Thanks to her family’s efforts and those of art lovers in Europe and Israel, Seidmann-Freud’s art survived the Holocaust; today, new collectors and book lovers are falling in love with her work. But even as her art survived, her personal story was almost lost—even to her own descendants.




Published by Resources 4 Teachers & Parents

Resources 4 Teachers is an education website that provides material, activities, lesson plans, books and videos created by teachers for teachers, students and parents.

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